Carolina ‘watch’ battles crime

Published 11:59 pm Friday, July 31, 2009

When the residents of the Carolina community noticed that crime was making its way into their neighborhood, they decided to do something about it — establish a neighborhood watch program.

Carl Lawson, program organizer, said the group is “trying to get a handle on (crime) before it escalates” and is inviting everyone in that area to get involved.

“We’ve had burglaries, graffiti, vandalism, criminal mischief — you name it,” Lawson said. “When I tell people that I’ve had two break-ins, they’re shocked. ‘Not in Carolina, they say.’ I tell them, ‘Yes, in Carolina.’”

Lawson said a group of concerned citizens got together and started a crime watch about six months ago. Already, they can tell a difference.

“We organized to help neighbors look out for neighbors,” he said. “We are the eyes and ears for the police. Some of the members have volunteered to do neighborhood patrols to look out for suspicious activities and crimes in progress. If we see something that needs to be addressed, we do. If see a suspicious vehicle that’s not supposed to be in area, we write down the description and the tag number and turn it in. You never know. It might be a lead to a crime.”

Tuesday, the group will hold its first “National Night Out,” Lawson said. It is an annual event designed to let the community “meet its neighbors,” he said.

“The first step to organizing a good neighborhood watch program is getting to know who exactly your neighbors are,” he said. “This is our night. We will begin the meeting with a brief neighborhood watch session and then break for dinner. This is a great opportunity to learn how to better protect yourself and your property, as well as your neighbor — plus have a great evening of fellowship.”

The event is set for Tues., Aug. 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Carolina Baptist Church. Everyone who attends is asked to bring a covered dish.